interview preparation

A primary consideration of the first interview, be it over the telephone or face-to-face, is to secure the second interview. In order to facilitate the process, look at three key questions immediately following the discussion with your prospective employer:

Can you do the job as they described it to you ?
Is this the job you want to do at this point in your career ?
Do you think you want to do this job with them ?

If the answer is yes to all three questions then you will know that you would like to move the interview to the next phase.

Now that you know where you'll be headed, let's find out how we're going to help you get there. Your approach is vitally important. You have been headhunted and have not respond to an ad. We have discussed your needs and determined that this opportunity can help meet your goals. If you had responded to an ad you would have been the same as the others who responded to the ad meaning you would have to sell yourself hard to be noticed. As a candidate some of the selling has been done for you but it is still important to continue to do this. Equally the employer must in turn sell the benefits of the company, or their particular opportunity to you. If they don’t do a great job, then there’s no reason for you to pursue it any further.


fact finding
Treat the interview as a fact finding mission. Once you’ve gathered all the essential information, you can make your own decision whether or not you continue. We’ll be with you every step of the way to help you make your choice. In order to answer those three key questions we mentioned earlier you’re going to need to know a few pertinent items. Here are the questions you need to ask to get the information you need.

  1. Please define for me the specific opportunity.
  2. What are your expectations of success?
  3. How will you identify, measure and reward success?
  4. Tell me about the culture of your company?
  5. How do you differentiate the company among your many competitors?
  6. Why is this a fun place to work?
  7. Tell me about how a project flows through the company.
  8. What is your management style and philosophy?
  9. As you probably know, most telecoms companies over work their employees how do you prevent that and how are resources brought to bear on solving a client’s needs? Only ask this question if you deem it to be appropriate.
  10. What accomplishments of the company are you most proud of?
  11. What attracted you to the company and why do you stay?
  12. What is the current vision of the business over the next 2-5 years?

These questions should be enough to put you well on your way of discovering whether or not this firm is right for you. We want to encourage you to make a note of the questions and take them with you. This will allow you to focus on the answers you will be getting from the employer. You won’t have to worry about coming up with any questions or whether or not they’re going to impress the interviewer. Of course, you’ll probably have a few of your own questions as well. Make sure to mix them in with the other questions.

A good interview is a dialogue not a monologue. So, you should expect questions from the interviewer. Answer all questions directly. Look the individual directly in the eye, avoid periods of no eye contact. Be prepared to discuss your responsibilities to some extent but, focus on your accomplishments. You need to talk about the things you are most proud of in your current and/or previous roles. Remember, companies hire employees to either make or save money. Be prepared to explain how, through your efforts, you helped your current employer to do so. Be careful not to let your answers wander off into space. If you are unclear about a particular question, ask the interviewer to repeat it or clarify it so that you’ll understand it better. There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

There are two particular areas that need some discussion, especially for the first interviews: compensation and your reason for leaving your current position. Remember as a candidate, we came to you. So in all actuality it hasn’t really been determined that you’re going to leave your current position. You’re at the interview to explore the opportunity. Now, if there are legitimate reasons which make it timely for you to leave and you have discussed those at length with the consultant helping you, then by all means reveal those to our client. Never, talk negatively about your current company or your colleagues. Be diplomatic, it goes a long, long way.

With regard to compensation, it is usually poor form for an interviewer to mention money during the first interview. Most of our clients know this and leave the negotiating to us. However, once in awhile, somebody will test your resolve in this area. Money will be brought up in one of the two questions, "What are you making now?" or "What are you looking to make in your next opportunity?" We’ve discovered the following phrase works well to establish your credibility with the employer and lets then know that you’re not about to get yourself into a negotiating posture prematurely when you are all alone on their turf:
" I’m glad you brought this up. Money is important to me but it’s not the most important item on my agenda, I’m really here to evaluate this opportunity and if we decide to move forward. I’ll be prepared to respond to your best offer."


closing the Interview
There will be a definite signal when the interview will be brought to a close. It will be important for you to identify this key point in the conversation and not accidentally drag out the interview any longer than necessary. You should ask a closing question "Based on our time together, do you have any reservations about moving forward with me?" Listen carefully to the response. Nobody conducts a perfect interview so it is natural that the employer might give you a couple of things to discuss. If you feel capable of answering their concerns on the spot do so, but be as direct and as brief as possible. If you are unable to think of a plausible explanation, ask them for time to reflect on their issue and state you’d like to get back to them.


Remember to call us immediately after the interview so we can conduct a thorough debrief while it is still fresh in your mind. The more time lapses, the harder it will be for total recall of the event.

Good Luck!

With special aknowledgement to William Cebak, ace headhunter.

frequently asked question: candidates